The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The Act makes extensive changes that affect both individuals and businesses. Some key provisions of the Act are discussed below. Most provisions are effective for 2018. Many individual tax provisions sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025; the corporate tax rates provision is made permanent. Comparisons below are generally for 2018.
Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the nation, announced last week that it suffered a major cyber breach. The breach is currently estimated to affect approximately 143 million personal records, nearly half the population of the United States.
To identify if you are part of the breach, Equifax has provided a website: Click here to Check Potential Impact . Further, they are offering free credit monitoring.
NOTE: Before you decide to enroll in TrustedID Premier, it’s important to understand that you may be waiving your rights to a future settlement. We recommend you read all disclosures/fine print before enrolling.
If you ultimately elect to use Equifax credit monitoring service, you will notice that the enrollment will start at a later date. In the interim, closely monitor your accounts.
This all-important retirement income source is tricky, especially around times of transition.
Social Security is complicated. This world of confusion stems from all the factors that have to be accounted for, including your age, income, marital status, health and life expectancy. With Social Security accounting for nearly 40% of most Americans’ retirement income, it’s important to get your filing decision right or as close to it as possible.
Don’t worry, it can be done. Specialized software can help illustrate the likelihood and potential impact of various choices, but you’ll want to start the planning process well before you file a claim. Preparation is key.
Three Main Types of Benefits
Benefits for Workers
You must have worked and contributed to the system for at least 40 quarters to be entitled to what’s known as your Primary Insurance
You’ve received the ominous message that your account has been compromised. Now what?
Message: We have detected unusual activity on your account. Did you authorize this transaction?
At first you think the text from your credit card company is a mistake; then reality sets in. You may have been hacked. Your mind reels as you wonder what information the thieves were able to access and if your identity has been stolen. Sadly, this scenario is all too common. The Federal Trade Commission reports that 11.7 million people find themselves as victims of identity theft every year.
Andy Zolper, Chief IT Security Officer, Raymond James, provides suggestions for how investors can improve their personal computer security.
Investors increasingly use their personal computers to access and manage their finances, making computer security more important than ever. Follow these simple tips from Andy Zolper, Chief IT Security Officer, to help secure your computer and protect your personal information. (more…)
At their December 14th meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee raised the federal funds target rate to between 0.50% and 0.75%. The 25 basis point increase was widely expected by financial market participants. Senior Federal Reserve officials’ revised their projections for future rate increases. There’s still a wide range of opinion, but the median forecast for the number of rate hikes in 2017 edged up to three (versus two in September). Raymond James’ Chief Economist Scott Brown cautions investors that the dots in the dot plot are not a plan. They are but an expectation. Actual Fed policy moves will depend on the economic data, with a focus on the job market and the inflation outlook. (more…)
Last Thursday, the United Kingdom (U.K.) voted to leave the European Union (EU), in a somewhat surprising move. The markets’ immediate reaction was less surprising. Markets seemingly anticipated a “stay” decision and had rallied in the days prior to the referendum, but started to decline after the 52% to 48% vote went the other way. Given the unanticipated decision, it is not astonishing that the British pound fell sharply – briefly to a 30+ year low against the U.S. dollar – and the U.K. equity market followed suit. American equity markets were down about 3% on Friday, while international equity (e.g., Germany and France) and currency markets declined more. Many investors, predictably, turned toward what they deem to be more stable investments like U.S. Treasuries and gold. (more…)